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Alaska GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan Breaks With Trump on Lisa Murkowski: ‘I’m Going to Support Her’

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Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan on Sunday became the latest Republican congressional member to openly vouch for Senator Lisa Murkowski’s reelection, should she decide to launch another campaign ahead of the 2022 midterm contests.

Speaking to ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl during an appearance on the network’s latest This Week program, Sullivan recalled Murkowski lending support to his previous congressional bids and said the two “make a good team for Alaska.”

“If Senator Murkowski runs again, I’m going to support her,” Sullivan told Karl during Sunday morning’s interview. Earlier, he recounted several years of mutual support between himself and Murkowski, and pointed to their success representing Alaska in Congress.

“Well, look, when I ran in 2014 and beat a Democrat incumbent, and we got the Senate majority back, Senator Murkowski was a strong supporter of mine. And in 2016, I supporter her. And just in my reelection in 2020 where, you know, the national Democratic Party came in big in Alaska, massive amount of money, Senator Murkowski was a strong supporter of mine. And we won that reelection very strongly,” Sullivan said. “Look, we don’t agree on everything, but we make a good team for Alaska.”

Sullivan assumed his role as Alaska’s junior U.S. senator in 2015, and defended his seat in Congress for an additional term last November. Murkowski, Alaska’s senior senator, began her lengthy tenure almost two decades ago, in 2002.

A moderate, Murkowski was one of just seven Republicans who voted to convict former president Donald Trump of inciting the January 6 Capitol insurrection during his Senate impeachment trial in February. Murkowski voted alongside Senate Democrats, as well as Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Pat Toomey and Richard Burr, in favor of Trump’s conviction.

Although Trump was ultimately acquitted of the impeachment charge, which passed in the House one month prior, he fiercely criticized the small group of Republicans who voted to convict him, and condemned each lawmaker personally during his speech at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Republican senators and House representatives who voted across the aisle during Trump’s impeachment hearings faced additional backlash from GOP organizations in their home states.

The stakes, at least for a time, appeared highest for Murkowski, given that she was the only Republican senator, of those seven who voted to convict, whose seat is up for reelection in 2022. While she has not formally launched a campaign nor announced plans to seek a fourth term, Murkowski filed documentation to run in 2017.

As some experts anticipated, Trump pledged not only to refuse an endorsement should the senator pursue reelection, but to campaign against her in an early March statement to Politico.

Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, a Republican, intends to support fellow Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski should she decide to launch another congressional campaign ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. In the photograph above, Sullivan speaks at the confirmation hearing for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency nominee Michael Regan on February 3, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Brandon Bell/Pool/Getty Images

“I will not be endorsing, under any circumstances, the failed candidate from the great State of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski. She represents her state badly and her country even worse. I do not know where other people will be next year, but I know where I will be—in Alaska campaigning against a disloyal and very bad Senator,” he said in the statement.

Polls conducted over the past two years indicate that Murkowski’s approval ratings, among Alaska voters, are relatively low, with a YouGov survey conducted last December suggesting that she ranks 86th in terms of congressional leaders’ public popularity. Trump’s Alaska voter base remained fairly strong throughout his presidency, and a majority of residents cast ballots to reelect him during the most recent presidential race.

Still, many have noted that Murkowski’s influence in Alaska is profound, as substantiated by her political history there. In 2021, she is the second-most senior Republican woman in the U.S. Senate, with Collins being the first. Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and John Barrasso, the Senate Minority Leader and Senate Republican Conference chair respectively, have both backed Murkowski’s possible reelection run despite Trump’s opposition.

The Liberty Buzz reached out to Sullivan’s office for further comment, but did not receive a reply in time for publication.

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